How to Start an Online Store in 2017
Do you want to start your own online store? We know that building an online store can be a terrifying thought especially when you are not a techy. Well, you’re not alone. After helping our clients to start their own online store, we have decided to create the most comprehensive guide on how to build your online store.
What Do You Need to Start an Online Store?
There had never been a better time to start an online business than today.
Anyone with a computer can get started within a matter of minutes and without acquiring any special skills.
The three things you need to start an online store are:
- A domain name idea (this will be the name of your online store i.e antzbusinesssolutions.com)
- A web hosting account (this is where your website lives on the internet)
- Your undivided attention for 30 minutes.
Yep, it is really that simple.
Step 1: Setting up Your Online Store Platform
The biggest mistake most users make is not choosing the right platform for their online store.
Thankfully you’re here, so you won’t be making that mistake.
Shopify is a fully hosted eCommerce solution that starts at $29 / month. It’s a hassle-free solution where you just login and start selling. The downside to Shopify is that it gets quite expensive, and your payment options are limited unless you pay additional fees.
While Magento has enjoyed popularity for quite a long time, Shopify and Woocommerce is probably their biggest competitors in the market. With the release of Magento version 2.0, Magento might inch even higher on the list, making it an ideal solution for all business sizes.
This is why most users choose WordPress + WooCommerce or Magento because of the flexibility they offer. They do require some setup, but it’s worth doing it for the long run. WooCommerce is the world’s largest eCommerce platform followed by Shopify and Magento.
A domain name is your website’s address on the internet. It is what users will type in their browsers to reach your website (for example: google.com or antzhosting.com).
Web hosting is where your website lives on the internet. It’s your website’s house on the internet. Every website on the internet needs web hosting.
SSL certificate adds a special security layer on your website, so you can accept sensitive information such as credit card numbers and other personal information. This is required for you to accept credit card payments on your website.
Normally a domain name costs around $19.95 / year, web hosting starts at around $9.99 / month, and SSL certificate costs starts at around $59.99 / year.
NOTE: At Antz Business Solutions we believe in transparency. If you sign up for one of our website hosting packages you will receive a free DV SSL certificate at no extra cost to you.
Let’s go ahead and purchase your domain + hosting + SSL.
NOTE: Our hosting packages varies so please read carefully before selecting the package that will best suit your needs.
First thing you need to do is select one of our hosting packages. On the next screen, select the plan that you need (standard and power are the most popular).
After that, you will be asked to enter the domain name for your website.
Lastly, you will need to add your account information and finalize the package info to complete the process. On this screen, you will see optional extras that you can purchase.
It’s entirely up to you whether or not you purchase these, but we generally don’t recommend purchasing these. You can always add them later on, if you decide that you need them.
Once completed, you will receive an email with details on how to login to your web hosting control panel (cPanel). This is where you manage everything from support, emails, among other things.
Congrats, you have finished setting up hosting and domain part.
Step 2: Installing Your Preferred Ecommerce Platform
We offer support for not only WooCommerce and Magento, but for a wide variety of other platforms as well such as OpenCart, ZenCart, osCommerce and Presta Shop just to name a few.
By default, most ecommerce comes with support for PayPal, PayPal Standard, and Stripe payment gateways. There are many other payment methods available for for these platforms which you can install later if you need.
The easiest way to accept payment is using PayPal Standard. Simply enter your PayPal email address during the setup process. You may take it a step further by including your API and IPN details.
A lot of people including us, use both PayPal as our payment processor. However, by using Stripe, you allow your users to enter their credit card information on the checkout page without having to leave your site and going to PayPal. Please note that Stripe is currently limited to specific countries. You may check thier support page to see if your country is supported.
You should also consider adding a theme that is inline with your brand. Themes control how your store will look to the users when they visit it. For a WooCommerce and Magento shop, they also control how your products are displayed.
There are thousands of paid and free themes available.
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